Big Foot

Someone recently said to me, ‘Ooh, aren’t you lucky taking a size 8 shoe. You’ll be able to get first pick in the sales.’

That’s basically code for, ‘Your feet are so freakishly big that no one else could possibly have feet that big too. You have, effectively, OUTGROWN the competition.’

When I tell people that my feet are a UK size 8, they often don’t believe me. But honestly, they really are. They’re not a size 7 that occasionally require a size 8 shoe. No, they’re a fully-paid up member of The Size 8 Club (schleb members: Kate Winslet, Paris Hilton and Uma Thurman) to the point of – dare I say it – borderline size 9. Small children are terrified of them and, very occasionally, tourists attempt to board them, mistaking them for two passing cruise liners.


Sales or no sales, there’s nothing lucky about having super-sized clodhoppers because about 90 per cent of shoes in a size 8 look utterly preposterous on my feet. I might spot a dainty pair of sandals on display but when the shop assistant (‘Sorry, did you say SIZE 8?!’) brings the same pair out in double the length, they look like two canal barges strapped to the bottom of my legs.

Only the other day, a shop assistant shook her head sympathetically and said: ‘Hmm… they ARE lovely shoes but they just don’t look right in a size that big.’

I didn’t always have this problem. But when I was 10 years old, I blew out the candles on my birthday cake, closed my eyes and made a wish. It wasn’t a pony I wished for, or My Little Pony’s Dream Castle. No, I wished for big feet.

At the time, I was having a competition with a classmate over whose feet were growing the fastest. I was hoping that when my mother next took me to get my feet measured on the machine at Clarks or K Shoes (remember them?), I could skip back to class and proudly announce: ‘My feet have gone up a whole two sizes – beat that, TINY TOES!’

At high school, my skinny legs resembled two golf clubs as the feet continued to grow. Fortunately, they stopped at size 8, sparing me from becoming a true oddity, who could only buy shoes via mail order from BigShoe4U.

But I’ve long since given up on procuring a pair of designer heels – mainly because most stop at size 7. Even many size 8 shoes (Topshop for example) are too tight. And ballet pumps just look like giant, flappy clown shoes.

Every autumn, I picture myself stylishly striding through crisp leaves in a sleek pair of Italian leather knee-highs. It’s a dream that usually ends with me grappling with a pair of boots that are so wide on my legs, they look more like wellies, before fleeing the shop despondently and rueing the day that I was ever cursed with these monstrous stompers.

For reasons which I’m still trying to fathom, boot designers ensure that the calf width of the boot – ludicrously – increases with the size of the foot. So basically, if you’re cursed with huge meaty sausages for legs, are well as big barges for feet, you’re fine. But if you’ve got sparrow’s legs like me, forget it.

Sometimes, I look down at my feet and marvel at the beastliness of them. Occasionally, I hold them up against the husband’s face, and think, ‘My foot is BIGGER than your head!’

The final indignity is that the husband is also a size 8 foot. Technically, we could share shoes. And that’s just plain weird.

5 thoughts on “Big Foot

  1. Hey Palmersan

    I have massive feet for a guy, size 16 American, about a 14 UK… drifting towards 17 in certain styles (OMG). They are enormous boats let me tell you! And I am quite not a very tall or husky man. When putting them up on a sofa or coffee table, more than one person has confused my feet with an interior wall in the middle of the room, my soles being so monumentally massive. As for my sandals, I have been asked by people if they could borrow them to go surfing. ‘Oh, you mean those are meant to house your FEET!? – Can you take siestas upright?’

    Yup, heard them all. “Lawnmowers” was a nickname of mine. Every time I stepped on someone’s yard, the grass would simply vanish under my monstrous footprints, never o reappear. Cheaper than getting a gardener, I guess. I’m also proud to be one of the few “mobile” tourist landmarks on the planet. Every time I walk to a store, suddenly I am surrounded by employees and onlookers alike, and hoardes of cameras alongside a few Japanese tourists. If I dare ask for m shoe size, the incomprehensible looks betray both angst and puzzlement. Like “I want to stay and stare at you huge canoes/railroad tracks down there, but I also want to run for my life should you move and squash me like a tiny bug under your giant soles”. On a positive note, I can say that my feet measure 1/3 of a meter. Isn’t that grand?

    Since you bravely put up a picture, I shall do the same:

    Those poor socks! You can understand how much they have to stretch to accomodate my expansive stompers. BTW,do you also divide you feet by regions? (as in: “last night I had this itch on the northeastern region of my foot”)… lol. Seriousy, I absolutely love how you wrote this, because I was 100% on the same page, I have written something like this in a forum called Experience project, so I just smiled so much upon reading yours.

    I leave you with this thought: according to what I have been able to dig, your feet are larger than 98% of women alive on this Earth right now at size 8, larger than 99.1% at size 9 UK. MY feet are larger than 99.5% of all men alive right now at size 16. That would beg the question of whether you and I are actually human, or the only two hairless Yetis known to science. In any event, we are darn unique, and every time we walk, the footprints WE create are two of the largest human forces on this planet. Because our feet are the only thing that actually bind us to the world we live in day in and day out. I loved your bravery of posting this, and I hope you enjoyed what I wrote. Take care!!


    • Wow. This is quite a tale, Tobias. I’m not quite sure whether to congratulate or commiserate you on entering the top foot freak percentile. I’ll settle on a congrats; we big-footed beasts need to stick together. Happy stomping!

  2. Actually, there is ONE thing about having large feet, I’m aiming for the Olympic level figure skating and i’m 6 ft, my size 11 feet provide me great balance despite my height.

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